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“Electric cars still kill pedestrians”: Tyre Extinguishers respond to claims that they mistakenly targeted electric car; Ford removes “don’t drive it, aim it” ad after backlash; Pinot on Nadal; Wiebes wins again; Wout was that? + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday and – pending a vote of confidence – Ryan Mallon is here to bring you all the latest news and views on the live blog...
07 June 2022, 17:49
Ford ‘Aim It’ ad pulled – reader reaction

Try as I might, I just can’t find that 1984 Toyota ad anywhere…

It's almost as though, bubbling deep in the cesspit subconscious of people who make car ads, there's a compulsion to admit that they're selling machines that can and do kill people.

This Ford ad's not the worst though. That title must surely go to Toyota for the 1984 billboard that featured a Celica Supra being fired out of or alongside a handgun and the slogan 'The trigger is under your right foot'.

I mean the bigger problem with the Ford story is that, even taken in the "correct" context, i.e. aim for the apex, it uses language associated with racing and driving in a manner which is reckless and inappropriate for city streets.

Add onto that the picture is a car going round a right-hand bend such that it order to hit the apex (at least in the UK) the driver would have to be FULLY ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD then you reach the inevitable conclusion that even taken in the intended context it is a god awful advert that should be appropriately punished.

Personally I know nothing about 'aiming for the apex', whatever that is, as I don't follow motor sport.  To me, and probably to many other people, the word 'aiming' implies a weapon such as a gun being aimed. Also, vehicles have been used as weapons in terrorist attacks where they were aimed at streets full of pedestrians. I think it was a poorly-worded advert and it's right that it's been pulled.

And last word, from a Ford fanatic:

07 June 2022, 16:52
“If a cyclist does the same thing, it’s already forbidden”: Pinot and Martin speak out against Nadal injections

As French cycling royalty speaks out against the King of Clay’s use of injections during the French Open (to the extent that Nadal claimed he couldn’t feel his foot during his emphatic final victory over Casper Ruud on Sunday), what’s your stance on needles in sport?

> “Today’s heroes…”: Thibaut Pinot and Guillaume Martin question Rafael Nadal’s use of anaesthetic injections during French Open

Should injections be used to treat injuries, either as one-off emergencies or in the consistent, long-term manner seemingly favoured by Nadal and the likes of Steven Gerrard while he was at Liverpool?

Or do you agree with Martin and Pinot that if an athlete requires an injection to compete, they shouldn’t be competing at all? (Never mind needing to numb the source of the pain so much that you can’t even feel it…)

Perhaps you’re slightly confused that someone who apparently needs industrial quantities of cortisone to walk can still – at the age of 36 – dominate one of his sport’s biggest events?

Or do you reckon the French duo’s comments smack of ‘people in glass houses…’

Let us know!

07 June 2022, 15:55
More famous faces on the side of the road...
07 June 2022, 14:58
Waiting for Gaudu: French rider wins as Van Aert does ‘an Alaphilippe’ by celebrating too early

David Gaudu continued France’s successful start to the Critérium du Dauphiné by pipping Wout van Aert on the uphill drag to the line in Chastreix-Sancy, after the Jumbo-Visma rider was found guilty of raising his arms too early.

Or ‘doing an Alaphilippe’, as it’s known in the biz.

Despite his premature celebration, Van Aert has regained the yellow jersey he lost to Alexis Vuillermoz yesterday, and now sits six seconds ahead of Groupama-FDJ’s Gaudu, whose build up to the Tour de France looks to be gaining momentum after a smart, perfectly timed victory.

But now on to today’s most important concern – all the ‘Wout were you thinking?’ jokes and memes, currently spreading rapidly across the internet...

(And don't let the fact that Gaudu would have won anyway spoil a good gag...)

07 June 2022, 14:36
'Look at that full-kit wa-... oh wait, it's Romain Bardet'

Alaphilippe looks like he's been enjoying himself since his crash at LBL too...

07 June 2022, 13:25
Red-hot Wiebes storms to Women’s Tour stage

You can’t keep a top rider down for long.

Team DSM’s Lorena Wiebes made up for sliding off on the final corner yesterday by returning to winning ways in emphatic fashion on stage two of the Women’s Tour in Harlow today.

The Dutch sprinter benefitted from a textbook lead out from her team, before instantly gapping her rivals with an explosively powerful burst with 200 metres to go, comfortably beating Barbara Guarischi and Shari Bossuyt into second and third respectively.

Wiebes has certainly cemented herself as the sport’s dominant sprinter during what has been a sensational 2022 so far.

Of the 20 race days the DSM rider has taken part in this year, she’s won eight of them (and don’t forget the overall GC at the RideLondon Classique).

Not too shabby, eh?

With a few more opportunities for bunch kicks left in this year’s Women’s Tour, don’t bet against Wiebes continuing her relentlessly impressive streak.

07 June 2022, 12:10
Can’t stop the beat at the Women’s Tour

After yesterday’s chaotic, stressful and pretty controversial opening stage, the Women’s Tour peloton will be hoping for a more serene loop around Harlow today – though by the looks of things at the moment, the pace is starting to ramp up on the rolling roads.

Team Coop-Hitec Products, meanwhile, are intent on winning the hearts of cycling and dance fans (like myself) everywhere...

07 June 2022, 11:29
The Queen’s Head (on Strava)

Just when you thought a bicycle-propelled Red Arrows display couldn’t be topped, reader, bike builder and Strava art creator (yep, that’s a thing) Nicolas sent us this hugely impressive and frankly terrifying image of the Queen’s head mapped out by bike over London.

Queen's Head Strava

Nicolas was taking part in Rapha London RCC’s jubilee-inspired checkpoint challenge but, instead of limiting himself to the prescribed 50-kilometre route, decided to go above and beyond in the name of the Platty Joobs, clocking up over 320km during a non-stop 20-hour ride to draw this massive postage stamp.

Fair play Nicolas. I can’t say I fully understand why you did it, but fair play.

07 June 2022, 10:52
“Electric vehicles still kill pedestrians”: Tyre Extinguishers respond to claims that they “mistakenly” targeted electric car owned by former BP chief executive

Tyre Extinguishers, the direct-action group calling for SUVs to be banned from cities, have responded to an article in the Daily Express which claimed that the activists “attacked the tyres of an electric car by mistake”.

Members of the group, who spoke to us in April for an episode of the Podcast, use dried lentils to deflate tyres of the vehicles to draw attention to their campaign.

Over the weekend, the Express reported that John Browne (that’s Baron Browne of Madingley to you), BP’s chief executive between 1995 and 2007, found that the tyres on his Mercedes SUV had been deflated by the campaigners last month.

A note wedged under the car’s windscreen read: “Attention — your gas guzzler kills.

“We have deflated one or more of your tyres. You’ll be angry, but don’t take it personally.

“It’s not you, it’s your car. Psychological studies show SUV drivers are more likely to take risks on the roads. SUVs are unnecessary, and pure vanity.”

“We were appalled, because our car is electric,” Lord Browne said.

“And what if we had needed to use it for an emergency — to go to hospital or something? It is right to tackle climate change, but this is the wrong way to go about it.”

Tyre Extinguishers, however, have since responded to the article to confirm that the incident was “not a mistake”.

The group posted on Twitter: “Electric vehicles still pollute the air, kill pedestrians and we can’t electrify our way out of a car-caused crisis.

“Also, Lord John Browne is a climate criminal who deserves to have his tyres deflated every day.”

The group, which has no centralised structure and is active around the world, encourages people to get involved with its campaign by undertaking their own direct actions and leaving a leaflet, downloadable from their website, to explain to owners of the vehicles why their tyres have been deflated and to highlight the effect of SUVs on the planet.

07 June 2022, 10:12
The new Trek Madone: a story in two YouTube comments
Trek Madone YouTube comments

The radical new Madone, with its funky aero frame, has certainly divided opinion within the cycling community, if the comments under Liam’s video report from the Dauphiné are anything to go by…

07 June 2022, 09:30
“How are you feeling?” “Dead” – Brad on a Bike, Vuelta ’83-style

I know he’s fond of chatting to riders at the back of the bunch (often in the wrong language), but I’m not sure even Sir Brad of Wiggins could pull off this kind of onboard interview technique…

07 June 2022, 09:13
You love to see it...
07 June 2022, 08:22
Ford removes controversial “don’t drive it, aim it” ad after online backlash

Yesterday on the blog we reported that car giant Ford, recently announced as a major partner of RideLondon, came in for some flak online for a controversial marketing campaign which encouraged customers not just to drive their cars, but “aim” them.

The ad – which some Twitter users claimed was a reference to racing drivers ‘aiming’ for the apex of a corner – was described by the West Midlands’ cycling and walking commissioner Adam Tranter as a “new low”.

“Car companies have long promoted their products in an assertive and aggressive way, encouraging drivers to ‘be in control’ and to ‘own the road’,” Tranter wrote on Twitter.

“But Ford may have set a new low in openly marketing their cars as weapons.”

Referring to Ford’s new ‘Park the Car’ initiative, which aims to encourage drivers to cycle or walk for short journeys, Tranter continued: “It’s an interesting strategy for a company aiming to earn goodwill by promoting their support of people walking and cycling, the modes of transport most in danger of the weaponisation of cars.”

Last night, Ford contacted the cycling and walking commissioner to inform him that the offending advert has now been removed.

The motoring firm also acknowledged that when “taken out of context, the language used on this particular advert can be misinterpreted.”

Ford said in a statement: “We want to reassure you that nothing is more important to us than the safety of all road users and, though initiatives like our long-established Share the Road programme, we have been working to promote safer, more harmonious roads that specifically focus on cyclist safety.

“It is true that, taken out of context, the language used on this particular advert can be misinterpreted. We have taken action to remove it immediately and are working closely with our colleagues to ensure this is avoided in the future.”

While some praised Ford’s speedy response, others weren’t as convinced:

Ryan joined as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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